The University of Washington’s Chris Williams won the 2013 Ben Hogan Award Monday night, becoming the second Husky in four years to be named college golf’s best men’s player. Nick Taylor won the same award in 2010.
At a black-tie event at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, TX., Williams received teh ward that includes an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2014 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. He earned UW a $50,000 grant for the men’s golf scholarship program, $25,000 of which will be donated under his name.
“This is pretty surreal for me,” Williams said after accepting the award. “I grew up in Moscow, Idaho. I never thought I’d be here today. Our golf season is about three weeks long. We don’t get a lot of time to play, but I took advantage of it thanks to my golf holidays.”
Williams beat California’s Michael Kim and TCU’s Julien Brun. Kim was the 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year and had four wins. But Williams’ outstanding summer play and solid senior season gave him an edge.
After thanking many, he offered special praise for Huskies coach Matt Thurmond.
“No one really gave me a chance except him,” Williams said of his junior-golf days. “At the time, we had a top-five ranked team and he told me, ‘You have a spot on the squad.'”
The world’s No.1-ranked amateur in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and the Scratch Players World Rankings, Williams was the 2012 recipient of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top-ranked amateur. That guaranteed berths into the 2013 U.S. and British Opens.
The Hogan Award is presented annually to the top men’s NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer, taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the 12-month period. The selection committee is made up of 23 leaders and experts in amateur, college and professional golf.
He has three All-America honors so far, four All-Conference honors, a school-record six individual wins and 12 team victories.
Williams’ career at Washington is not yet over. He tied for 14th at the NCAA Regionals in Tallahassee, FL., Saturday and advanced to the NCAA Championship in Atlanta May 28-June 2 with his teammates.